In September 2018, INOVASI signed partnership agreements with prominent Islamic associations Ma’arif Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) Educational Institute and Muhammadiyah. The agreements represented new partnerships to broaden and sustain activities that strengthen educational quality and improve student learning outcomes in literacy and numeracy – particularly in the early grades.
In East Java, INOVASI is working with both organisations. Both Ma’arif NU and Muhammadiyah will support the dissemination of INOVASI education pilots, drawing on extensive subnational and national networks. At the primary school level, Muhammadiyah runs a large number of primary schools under the Ministry of Education and Culture, while Ma’arif NU works with madrasah under the Ministry of Religious Affairs. Their support will contribute to the long-term sustainability of INOVASI’s program impact and approach.
Last month, 34 Muhammadiyah regional facilitators attended the INOVASI hosted basic literacy workshop in Malang. The workshop represented a key next step for INOVASI’s ongoing collaboration with the association.
Juprianto, Education Specialist from INOVASI’s East Java team, explained that of the 43 teachers who attended the event, 35 were teachers from Muhammadiyah associated primary schools in East Java. Remaining participants were district facilitators from Sukapura in Probolinggo district.
Workshop participants from Muhammadiyah came from a range of districts in East Java, including Jember, Ngawi, Trenggalek, and Sidoarjo. An additional 8 attendees came from Probolinggo, and work as INOVASI local facilitators.
“This basic literacy workshop is intended for early grade teachers, namely teachers in grades 1-3 in primary and Islamic schools. We hope by participating in this workshop, Muhammadiyah facilitators can develop literacy skills in their classrooms and influence other teachers,” Jupri said.
Participants were given material to help prepare for encouraging a mindset shift, and information on the Active, Creative, Effective, and Enjoyable Learning (PAKEM) approach. Workshop content also focused on managing classes, understanding basic competencies, basic literacy, big book making, phonological awareness, reading words, reading fluently, reading comprehension, and writing skills.
Many teachers and facilitators shared their excitement at the new knowledge and skills, helping them to apply more effective and enjoyable literacy methods in the classroom. Ahmad Samaji, a teacher at Ngadisari 2 primary school in Probolinggo district explained that the workshop had increased his understanding on how to improve the pace and enjoyment of reading for grade one students, using the big book approach.
“The big book method is a very effective and fun method of learning to read, because students are focused so that they understand and memorize faster,” he said.
Dani Prastiani, a teacher from a Muhammadiyah associated primary school, had a similar experience. According to Dani, phonological material is incredibly useful in the classroom, helping students to more quickly memorise and understand letters. In turn, they can read and learn faster.
Enik Chairul Umah, Deputy Chair of the Muhammadiyah Regional Leaders (PWM) for East Java, strongly supported further workshop follow up, encouraging teachers and principals to apply the training in their respective schools. He confirmed he would try to train and disseminate workshop learnings to early grade teachers in further target schools.